Willis Chief Addresses London Market:
Insurance Industry Uniquely Offers Resilience
in a World of Unknowable Risks
London, UK, February 09, 2012 – The 21st century has already witnessed a transformational shift in the
global risk landscape, with a palpable change in the severity and frequency of events since 2000,
said Joe Plumeri, Chairman and CEO of Willis Group (NYSE: WSH) today. Speaking at the InsiderScope
London 2012 conference, held in the Willis Building before a packed audience of industry leaders, Plumeri
called for a repositioning of the insurance industry as the global leaders on resilience and commercial
sustainability for companies, organisations and enterprises facing a future of unknowable risks.
Plumeri, who has been at the helm of Willis since 2000 and has viewed the new risk
landscape evolving over the last decade from the front lines, urged his colleagues to view insurance
not simply as a transaction but rather as the natural business partner for clients achieving mitigation
of risk and enabling long-term sustainable growth.
In his keynote speech, Plumeri said the pace and severity of events between 2000 and 2011, combined
with long-term risks arising from challenges such as climate change, growing income disparity, increasing competition for
energy resources and the fundamental shift in the global balance of power from the West to
the rapidly emerging powers of China, Brazil, India and others, all symbolise a world which is
struggling to find a new equilibrium.
Plumeri went on to make the case that the insurance industry is unique within the financial services
sector in having proven its own resilience in the face of the global financial crisis and,
more recently, in the response to the record catastrophe losses in 2011. The insurance market has
remained fully operational throughout these crises and those of previous decades, he said, calling it a
testament to the strength and resilience of this capital market.
“Resilience is about managing extreme events, and who better to provide this than the industry which is
unique in its approach to the use of modelling and analytics in managing risk?” asked Plumeri.
“Who else models on the basis of extreme 1 in 200 year events?” he continued, adding
that this approach had made the insurance industry more resilient to catastrophe and shocks from mother
nature and man-made markets than any other.
Plumeri said that the growth in risk and uncertainty across the globe was driving demand for the
knowledge, expertise and capabilities which were the hallmarks of the insurance industry. He described insurance as
the obvious vehicle for delivering resilience, thanks to the combination of risk management and analytical services
that are unique to this industry. Plumeri added that it was, in effect, the insurance industry’s
responsibility to own resilience and to utilise its leadership position in enabling clients to achieve long-term
sustainable growth. If able to rise to the challenge, Plumeri said that this scenario represented a
significant future growth opportunity for the insurance business.
Plumeri’s keynote address at InsiderScope 2012 followed presentations from Pat Ryan, Founding Chairman and CEO, Ryan Specialty
Group; Charles Franks, CEO, Kiln Group and Sir Laurie Magnus, Senior Adviser & Deputy Chairman, Evercore
Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers
professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public
entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries,
with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the
world. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.
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